TRISH AND RICHARD SECURE IMPROVEMENTS TO LIGHTING AND PAVEMENTS

The Council’s programme for re-surfacing roads and pavements has been under pressure over recent years due to the impact of austerity and cuts to Government support to Councils. The Council has had to implement savings measures in order to survive, and it has been a struggle to maintain these programmes.

There is an annual programme of review of priorities for the resurfacing of roads and pavements and replacement of light columns. Last year, we were delighted by the re-surfacing of the pavement in Mayfield Road. The programme for the coming year includes more work in our Ward, including the re-surfacing of the footway in The Ridgway (pictured above) and the replacement of concrete light columns in a number of roads at the western end of the Ward –

  • Effingham Close
  • Grange Road
  • Grange Vale
  • Overton Road
  • Stanley Road
  • Ventnor Road
  • Summers Close

APPEAL LAUNCHED AFTER NOOR JAHAN BAR LOSES LICENCE

The owner of the Noor Jahan Tandori Bar in Brighton Road has submitted an appeal against the decision of Sutton Council to remove his licence to sell alcoholic drinks.

Sutton Council completed its review of the licence of the Noor Jahan Tandoori Bar, at 10 Station Parade, Sutton, just south of Sutton station on the Brighton Road, earlier this year. The bar is the only bar in Sutton South Ward.  

At a hearing of the Licensing Committee on Monday 17 February in the Civic Offices in Sutton, the decision was taken to revoke the bar’s licence. Trish and Richard attended the hearing. Richard told the committee that he did not want to see the bar closed but it needed to be much better managed, as it had been in the past, to ensure there was no nuisance to local residents.

The bar had a Premises Licence to sell food and drink till late at night.

Discussion at the committee related to the four licensing objectives of:

  1. Prevention of crime and disorder

     2. Protection of children from harm

     3. Public safety

     4. Prevention of public nuisance.

The committee was shown video evidence indicating breaches of the licence conditions, with trading outside the permitted hours, smoking in the bar, and noise problems.

The decision of the owner to appeal means that, in normal circumstances, the bar could continue to operate until the appeal is determined. However, the current coronavirus restrictions mean that the bar, along with other pubs, restaurants and bars, is closed. The current restrictions mean it may be a while before the appeal is determined.

The premises are up for sale and it is believed that there is a buyer keen to take over the bar. The buyer would, unless the appeal succeeds, have to apply for a new licence and convince the Licensing Committee that the premises will be better managed in future.

It is understood that the Spagetti Tree restaurant, near the bar, is taking over the vacant unit next to it (also an Italian restaurant until it closed recently). And that the vacant Rift and Co. premises opposite Sutton station will become a Sainsbury’s local.  

MORE TREES, TO COUNTER GLOBAL WARMING

Richard with the tree outside White Lodge Close

One of the ways to combat global warming is to plant more trees. Richard and Trish have been responsible for getting the Council to plant many trees in our Ward, some to replace trees that were lost to disease but many new trees. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and pollution, and pump out oxygen. Sutton is amongst the leaders among the 32 London boroughs in the number of street trees per yard of pavement. This contributes to the pleasant, green, suburban atmosphere of the area we all so much enjoy, though it creates a headache every autumn when the leaves fall.

This planting activity has included trees in:

Upland Road – outside 18, 20, 39. 103

Camborne Road – outside 47/49, 32/34

Effingham Close – 17, 26

Langley Park Road – opposite 91 Egmont

Devonshire Road – outside the school

The Ridgway – 18, 59

Christchurch Park – one outside, and one opposite, White Lodge Close.

GO SUTTON BUS WITHDRAWN: JOIN OUR CAMPAIGN TO KEEP THE BUS

The coronavirus crisis has led to the suspension of the Go Sutton bus service, as demand for the service has collapsed due to the restrictions on leaving your home and on travelling. We will petition to have it restored once the crisis is over.

The Go Sutton bus trial attracted massive attention. Information is at www.gosutton.co.uk.

The year-long trial for this on-demand bus service had positive feedback and the service was extended to cover the area shown on the map. You could register online and phone when you want to use the bus. The cost was £3.50 (plus additional passengers at £2) but free if you have a Freedom Pass, like Richard.

The bus service was innovative, on-demand scheme which picked up
residents close to where they lived and took them to any destination
across most parts of the borough. The scheme started in 2019
and was due to end in May 2020 but Liberal Democrats in Sutton petitioned for the service to become permanent.
Residents told us, especially elderly people or those with learning difficulties, that the bus scheme proved to be a lifeline for them.
That’s why Liberal Democrat councillors set up a petition calling
on the Mayor of London and Transport for London to make the
scheme permanent.You can still sign the petition by clicking here .
Apart from helping people to get around the borough,  the scheme helped us to improve air quality, reduce congestion and cut down on the
number of individual car journeys. Please sign the petition.

EXCITING NEW STREET ART AT SUTTON STATION

We have supported the proposal for this artwork to be painted on the bridge at Sutton station
The railway bridge at Sutton station is to be brightened up with a painting by the renowned artist Lionel Stanhope, whose art has brightened up many railway stations. We have been pleased to support this project which we think will be an attractive feature adding interest to the area.The façade of the railway bridge, as you come out of Sutton station and turn left, is currently a patchwork of various colours. The Council first tried to interest Network Rail in making the bridge look more attractive, over four years ago, during the “Sutton Gateway” project, which involved re-paving the area around the station and the installation of the clock opposite Sutton station. The artwork will be mainly funded by Network Rail, with a small contribution from Sutton Council.
The parapet of the bridge will require extensive cleaning and preparation before the painting can commence. Lionel Stanhope has produced a design (see picture above) which will incorporate the word “Sutton” in the typeface traditionally used by Southern railway, and a depiction of the historic Sutton locomotive. The locomotive “Sutton” came into the possession of the Council many years ago and is a 144 year old, 28 tonne, 26 feet, A1 class Terrier steam engine. It is currently with a heritage railway undertaking in Tunbridge Wells who have undertaken to restore it.
The painting will be an addition to an area becoming famous for its street art. Within two hundred yards you can find the remarkable statue “The Messenger”, located directly outside the entrance to Quadrant House in The Quadrant. The Messenger is a statue, a sculpture in bronze with very dark patination, completed by David Wynne in 1981, of a large horse and rider. It was a major commission for the sculptor, who died in 2014. It took four years to complete from his first idea and inspiration, on receipt of the brief – through roughing out, refining and casting in a foundry, to the final unveiling and installation.
Even more striking is the remarkable mural by the famous Spanish “street” artist from Bilbao, Eva Mena, on a wall in nearby Wellesley Road. This is said to be of the American singer and musician Erykah Badu. The work was commissioned by the owners of the building, Indepth Hygiene Services. It was painted in three days in 2010, when the artist came over from Spain to paint it. It is entirely typical of her street art, which is to be found on walls in many parts of the world, including Egypt, Ireland and Spain, as well as Sutton.

APPEAL LAUNCHED AFTER SUCCESS FOR TRISH AND RICHARD IN GETTING PLANNING APPLICATION IN COPSE HILL THROWN OUT

Dunsfold Court in Blackbush Close is opposite the site and residents already say it is difficult to find a parking space

Richard and Trish had major concerns about a planning application
DM2019/00925 for a site that includes numbers 2 and 4 Copse Hill plus an adjacent block at 52-54 Brighton Road. The application proposed over-intensive development of the site, to erect a block of flats with 65 flats. We considered this overdevelopment of the site, incongruous in the local context and likely to cause unacceptable problems relating to parking in the area, with an inadequate number of parking places proposed for 65 flats in an area that already has a shortage of parking spaces.

Following representations that we, together with many residents, made concerning this planning application, it was turned down by Council Planning Officers.

It was turned down for a number of reasons including the scale, mass and bulk of the development, the quantum of development representing an overdevelopment of the site, the lack of affordable housing and technical reasons such as the lack of biodiversity accounting.

The developer has now lodged an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. We cannot control this part of the process so will have to await the outcome. We are seeking information on whether further representations can be made at this stage. The procedures of the Planning Inspectorate often mean no further representations are allowed.


The site of the proposed block, viewed from Brighton Road

DEALING WITH THE FLOODS

At the Sutton Council meeting on 2 March Richard raised the issue of the flooding in Mulgrave Road during recent heavy rain.
Many residents have contacted us about the flooding in Mulgrave Road, particularly the area opposite Sutton station, during the recent heavy rains.The Council is responsible for maintaining the gullies and “gully pots” into which surface water from the road drains. However, the water then passes into a sewer maintained by Thames Water. The gullies have been cleaned but the nature of these events suggests that there is a problem with the sewers, which may be blocked or have insufficient capacity.We are continuing to keep up pressure on Thames Water to investigate and come up with a solution. There is a “Report a Problem” button on the Thames Water website and we are encouraging residents to use this facility to add to the number of people expressing their concern to Thames Water.
Grange Vale flooded last year. Richard cleared the blockage

TRISH AND RICHARD SPEAK IN THE COUNCIL BUDGET DEBATE

On 2 March Sutton Council debated its budget proposals for the next year. The Council has set a responsible budget concentrating its resources on those in greatest need. The background to the debate is that over the last ten years our core central Government funding has been reduced by more than 60% in real terms and we continue to face unprecedented financial pressures.

Trish made a moving speech about the need for additional resources for perinatal services. Here is Richard’s speech:

“I am in my tenth year as a Councillor and I find these annual budget debates in some ways ever more difficult.

But we need to lift our eyes.

It was about seventy years ago that the famous American economist J.K. Galbraith, a hero of mine, coined the phrase “private affluence and public squalor”, pointing out that society spends enormous sums of money on some goods and services while services that are collectively funded by society are generally kept very short of money, something he ascribed, rightly, to the obsession of the political right with cutting taxes and reducing the size of the state.

In modern Britain, we undoubtedly have this phenomenon – made much worse by austerity.

The collectively funded services that in my view society fails to fund adequately include education, hospitals, social care, social housing, welfare, help for the homeless, children’s services, libraries, and support for children with special educational needs. I could go on. And also some services that those on the political right might also want to spend more money on, like the welfare of the armed services.

We need more support for public services but we know that in Tory Britain we will not get it, which makes setting a responsible and well targeted budget of such great importance.

What stands out from this budget statement is the responsibility shown.

We are raising revenue, insofar as we can

We are not relying on raiding further our meagre reserves.

We are concentrating spending on the priorities that help those in most need.

There is a lot of Government rhetoric about at the moment about ending austerity, but if you look at the actuality of Government policy and spending commitments it remains overall highly fiscally restricted, with much made of a boost in what is a limited number of areas.

The reality is that over the last ten years our core central Government funding has been reduced by more than 60% in real terms and we continue to face unprecedented financial pressures as a result of grant reductions, underfunded new burdens from central Government and increased demand for services – due to demographic pressures and the impact of austerity, particularly cuts in welfare support for those in poverty.

While we’re managing with less, more people than ever need our help – child poverty has grown, more people are using food banks.

About two thirds of our spending is on support to vulnerable adults and children – including on caring for older people, “looked after” children, and people with learning and physical disabilities who need help to live independently.

The way our expenditure is skewed in this way, skewed by our statutory obligations but also our wish to concentrate spending on those in greatest need, is something that I think is not widely realised by our residents, most of whom are of course not consumers of those services.

And it concerns me that if you look at the Council’s risk statement there are areas where the Council faces difficulty in meeting even its statutory obligations – including homelessness, provision for those with Special Educational Needs, Homecare services, and support for child asylum seekers.

But we are an authority pursuing highly responsible policies to keep our head above water and maintaining the absolute priority policies that help the most vulnerable

So my feeling is we can be proud of this budget is – the themes being

1 there are major problems to be tackled

2 there is a very responsible approach and

3 there are policies to support those in greatest need.”

SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME TO PARKING CONSULTATION

We now have the results of the final stage of the Council’s consultation on parking. The third round of consultation was on a proposal developed from the results of the first two consultations, for a Permit Parking Area in roads in our Ward east of Langley Park Road.

WHAT HAPPENED IN THE EARLIER ROUNDS OF CONSULTATION

As parking is often raised as a problem in the regular surveys of residents on what they like about living in Sutton, the Council asked residents if parking was a problem in their road and what they would like done. Earlier rounds of consultation led to proposals that were not given sufficient support by residents for the Council to proceed with them.

There were concerns that unless the controls cover the whole local area parking will be displaced into roads without controls, and “free to park at any time” bays would be a magnet for commuters and long stay parkers, squeezing out residents. The alternative to schemes that have these disadvantages is a residents-only Permit Parking Area (PPA).

THE FINAL STAGE OF CONSULTATION

Consequently, the Council consulted residents at the end of 2019 on a proposed PPA. As roads not within the scheme will suffer from displaced parking if the roads nearby are in the scheme, the area consulted on was wide, running from Egmont Road to Willis Avenue and Prior Avenue – including Chalgrove Road, The Ridgway, Mayfield Road, Farm Road, Farm Close, Upland Road, Kayemoor Road, Downside Road, Willis Avenue and Prior Avenue.

The results of the consultation are clear – in every one of the roads listed above a majority of those expressing a view on the proposals supported their introduction. In some roads – particularly Chalgrove, Mayfield, The Ridgway, Upland – this was by a large margin. In all these roads more than one in four residents responded to the study, a high response rate for such local consultation exercises, and opinion was more than two to one in support of the proposed parking controls. In other roads consulted there was a lower response rate but still majorities in favour of the proposals. Once a scheme is introduced, any individual road left out will suffer high levels of parking, so any scheme needs to cover the whole area. It is a clear result that gives the Council a mandate to proceed with the introduction of the PPA consulted on.

The way the PPA works is that only residents can park their vehicles in the road for a “control period”, 9 to 11 AM each day on weekdays, thus removing commuters and long stay parkers. Residents who need to park a car on the road rather than in their drive during the “control period” will need to obtain a parking permit to display on the vehicle, and many residents will want to obtain “visitors’ permits” for their visitors if the visitors need to park in the street during the control period. There are special arrangements for carers. As this scheme will involve some costs of administration and enforcement there will be a charge for a permit, to cover costs, though all residents can get an initial supply of visitors’ permits without charge. The Council can cover costs but not use parking charges to subsidise other services. Parking charges in Sutton are amongst the lowest of any London borough. Charges per vehicle are on a scale you can find on the Council website and start at £40. A similar charge in Croydon is £80, Merton and Kingston £90, Richmond £99. You only need a permit if you need to park a car in the road during the “control period.” A PPA involves notices to advise motorists of the parking controls but there is no need for yellow lines.

Residents will receive a letter from the Council which will set out the timetable for introducing the scheme, later this year, and how to obtain permits.

Many residents are concerned about parking and we are pleased they have now had the opportunity to put their view on a concrete proposal developed on the basis of consultation, and a clear outcome has emerged.

SPEEDING AND POLLUTION

We are concerned that the removal of parking from the area will lead to clear roads that will attract more traffic and speeding. In many parts of London, though often more affluent areas, residents have campaigned to get the traffic out of otherwise quiet residential streets and onto the main roads by turning roads into cul-de-sacs, thus creating quiet roads with better air quality and no through traffic. A good example locally is the gate at the end of Dorset Road which makes Homeland Drive a quiet, traffic free road. We are interested in the proposals residents have been putting to us for consultation on such traffic initiatives in our area. Nothing is currently proposed but, as traffic continues to increase, this is the next issue we need to look at. Do let us know your views.    

OUR RESIDENTS ARE SATISFIED, BUT CARS CAUSE PROBLEMS

Richard is a member of the Council’s Strategy and Resources Committee, which met on 10 February. The most interesting item was the report on the resident satisfaction survey, which showed some positive results. 74% of residents are satisfied with the work of the Council, 58% believe the Council gives value for money in its work. In his speech to the Committee Richard pointed out that the results showed Sutton as being well ahead of the average – 58% on value for money against a national average of 48%, 74% on satisfaction with the Council against a national average of 63%.

As ever the main issue raised when asked about problems is parking. Problems with the motor car – traffic congestion, speeding traffic, parking – are a major source of problems. The Council has responded with its parking study and we will investigate the scope for creating quiet, traffic free roads in our Ward, with better air quality, if new parking controls lead to more traffic.